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Strong winds topple National Christmas Tree outside White House

The National Park Service said the 40-foot tree fell over during a wind gust and that a cable has since been replaced to secure the Norway spruce for Thursday's lighting ceremony.
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WASHINGTON — The National Christmas Tree near the White House was knocked over Tuesday when strong winds roared through the Washington area.

The National Park Service said the 40-foot tree from Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia fell over during a strong wind gust. A cable securing the Norway spruce has since been replaced.

“After assessing the tree’s condition and replacing a snapped cable, the tree is now upright," park service spokeswoman Jasmine Shanti said in a statement shortly after 6 p.m. ET. 

In its initial statement after the tree toppled over, the agency said, "As the saying goes, 'the show must go on,'" and it noted that it was "looking at all possibilities to ensure a successful event this year" at the lighting ceremony scheduled for Thursday.

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The National Christmas Tree was toppled by high winds.NBC Washington

The White House declined to offer further comment, referring inquiries to the park service.

The National Weather Service said on its website that "occasional wind gusts to gale force" would be possible through Tuesday evening for the Washington area.

Public viewing of the National Christmas Tree in President’s Park begins Saturday and lasts through Jan. 1, according to the park service website.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted the 100th lighting of the National Christmas Tree last year. The tradition began in 1923 with President Calvin Coolidge, according to the National Archives.

Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and other congressional leaders gathered for the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, a 63-foot Norway spruce also from Monongahela National Forest.

Danielle Jackson reported from Washington and Zoë Richards from New York.